Wake County, N.C. Moves Land Records Online

The LRA solution has been available through Wake County's Register of Deeds World Wide Web site (www.co.wake.nc.us/rdeeds) since July and serves an average of about 400 users per day, all of whom had to come to the office in person prior to automating the system, said Wake County register of deeds Laura Riddick.

"Before we had 350 to 400 people daily and 150 to 200 always in the office," she said. "Now, if we get 25 to 40, that's a lot."

Attorneys, real estate brokers, surveyors, lending institutions and private citizens can now search and access land records nearly in real time through the electronic records, which replace a manual process that took three days to complete. The records are scanned at the front end of the process, as opposed to being put on microfilm at the back end. The new method takes additional staffing to keep up with the nearly 1,000 documents processed daily in the office, Riddick said.

"Right now, I have four people working on it, and I could really use one more," she said. "On an average day, we scan 800 to 1,000 documents, but at the end of the month and on the 15th, we get about 2,000, and that's a lot of paper."

The $1 million system was developed and installed by Chantilly, Va.-based Universal Systems Inc. to eliminate Wake County's piles of documents, microfilm and aperture cards, said USI's marketing manager Ellen Hannigan.

"The [external] goal was to improve access and customer service," Hannigan said. "But internally it has helped speed the process and produced better quality."

The system took almost a year to put in place, which was a "little longer than anticipated," Hannigan said. The delay was mainly due to extended training time for staff and customers.

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